Al Gore’s new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, is “about all of human and geological history, about the whole world, about all the important frontiers in science, about business and politics and society and nature,” writes Washington Post reviewer Chrystia Freeland. But, despite this “vast, messy range,” Freeland believes it is “worth reading [for the] two newer ideas” it presents.
The first of these ideas, says Freeland, is the “premise [that] we are living in a ‘new period of hyper-change’.” This “unprecedented” change is being driven by “the technology revolution” which, as Gore tells us, “‘is now carrying us with it at a speed beyond our imagining toward ever newer technologically shaped realities that often appear, in the words of Arthur C. Clarke, ‘indistinguishable from magic.’”
“Gore’s second big argument,” writes Freeland, is that this “mind-blowing economic and social transformation [requires] a correspondingly ambitious political response.” Because “business has become truly global, . . .the nation-state is becoming irrelevant. We don’t need merely a robust national reaction to hyper-change, we need an international one, and Gore thinks that needs to be led by the United States or it won’t happen at all.”
Gore’s political conclusion: “We as human beings now face a choice: either to be swept along by the powerful currents of technological change and economic determinism into a future that may threaten our deepest values, or to build a capacity for collective decision making on a global scale.”
Gore’s reference to “economic determinism” is key to understanding his motives and goals. “Determinism,” Leonard Peikoff explains, “is the theory that ... every aspect of man’s life and character. . .is merely a product of factors that are ultimately outside his control.” As Ayn Rand has observed, “Dictatorship and determinism are reciprocally reinforcing corollaries: if one seeks to enslave men, one has to destroy their reliance on the validity of their own judgments and choices.”
As one can gather from this Amazon review (I have not read the book), “we”--as embodied by some global authority--must vastly increase controls on corporations, institute population controls, redistribute wealth, have veto power over biotechnology (and likely other) innovations, and, of course, curb CO2 emissions (energy production and use) in the name of controlling climate change.
A government with that kind of wide-ranging power is a totalitarian state, regardless of how much of that power is dormant at any given time. Gore’s essential point: We as individual human beings have no capacity to direct our own lives, the course of which is “determined” by some mysterious magical economic forces, on Gore’s view. So we need a clique of global political elites endowed with immense authority; a clique that is somehow immune to the power of these deterministic forces, and who alone are fit to impose their judgements and choices on everyone else. This Platonic worldview can result in nothing but totalitarianism.
There is nothing new about Gore’s “big” ideas. Judging by Freeland’s review, Gore’s book is a renewed call for the dusty old Leftist dream of global dictatorship.
Instead, we as human beings should embrace and advocate free market capitalism, individual rights, representative government limited to protecting individual rights. No global government is necessary or desirable. We only need a community of nations that adhere to these principles. Legitimate international problems that do arise from the astounding economic advances that would result from a fully liberated global economy can be resolved through treaties. Such treaties, when based on a commonly accepted ideological capitalist foundation, would be easily attainable.